Customer Reviews


150 Reviews
5 star:
 (105)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


1,022 of 1,028 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What you may need to know.
In order to help you decide whether or not to buy this book, I will try to make clear what the conflicting reviews mean. Actually, they are all right (in my opinion). Which side you take depends on the method of learning you prefer.
If you want a quick, "no brainer crash course" that will get you up and drawing ASAP, then use first "The (New) Drawing...
Published on April 4, 2001 by RJ

versus
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressions After a Year
This is my third-generation review for this book.

In my first review, shortly after beginning to work my way through the book's exercises diligently, I rated the book five stars. I felt that this was just what I was going to need to grow quickly in my drawing.

After eight months of study, I opted to stop going through the book. At that time I reduced...
Published 16 months ago by Reviewer


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1,022 of 1,028 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What you may need to know., April 4, 2001
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
In order to help you decide whether or not to buy this book, I will try to make clear what the conflicting reviews mean. Actually, they are all right (in my opinion). Which side you take depends on the method of learning you prefer.
If you want a quick, "no brainer crash course" that will get you up and drawing ASAP, then use first "The (New) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. The exercises in that book can be completed in less than a week; by then, you should be able to draw impressive lifelike portraits.
Now, let me warn you: Ms. Edwards' book teaches you how to COPY (draw) WHAT YOU SEE just as your eyes see it. You won't learn to draw from nothing; you will need a photograph or model to work from. Simply put: you will learn to copy whatever you look at.
Now, if after that, you find yourself wanting for more-- that is, you want to learn and do more -- then get this book by Nicolaides. This is a serious instruction manual that requires a lot of your time and energy. Using it is just like being in art class. You have to follow 25 schedules amounting to 15 hours of drawing each, and in all you will use more than 60 exercises. Each chapter builds on the previous ones, so it is necessary to do all of them in order, for as long as directed. This will take 6-24 months to "finish", assuming the student draws 1-6 hours a day.
Does that sound too much for you? If so, don't feel bad. This book turned me off, too, when I first opened it. It does take a lot of work; I understand why some people are disappointed by it. But if you keep up with it, you will definitely see the results at around Schedule 13. Several chapters after that, I found myself experimenting with all the drawing exercises I'd learned (Nicolaides, Edwards', Pogany's, etc.) to make the drawings I wanted. I also use computer programs that Nicolaides never even dreamed of.
That -- learning to combine and/or make your own drawings and nost just plain copying -- is what puts Nicoliades' book at a different class from Edwards'. That, and learning to experience the model in the natural, if old-fashioned, way.
So, my advice is go first for Betty Edwards or maybe "Drawing For Teens"(?) recommended below by an earlier review. If you want more than that, then come back here and get "The Natural Way to Draw". It might bore you at first, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. But give it the effort it deserves and you will know why this book has been called "not only the best how-to book on drawing, it is the best how-to book we've seen on any subject."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


502 of 537 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the Natural Way the way for you?, September 17, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
Anyone preparing to undertake this book should be aware it is tremendously demanding of your time and energies. There is a minimum expectation that you will draw for three hours a day for a one year period. I have never completed the whole course but undertook it several times and managed make it through three or four months of the program with some success. This book was held in tremendous esteem by a lot of students who swore by it when I attended Cal Arts. This is in part because Cal Arts is an animation school. A lead animator needs to capture weight and gesture in a very quickly done drawing. The book teaches you to actually feel as if you are touching the object with your pencil and feel its weight and volume by means of various excercises.
Later in my drawing career I found a school that taught foundational classic illustration techniques that have been passed down for ages. We were taught life drawing techniques using the four basic tones, proportions, light and form shadow, line quality quick sketch etc. One day my teacher who is an esteemed fine artist who has also created many well known movie posters you would recognize, noticed one of the students had a copy of "The Natural Way to Draw" on her drawing bench. He picked it up and asked all the students to take a look at the book. He opened it up high and actually began mocking it. My mouth was wide open as I assumed that this book was unquestioned in the art world. As he made his way through the book showing samples of the illustrations especially in the advanced stages, many in the class were laughing out loud at the pictures. I must admit at that moment they suddenly looked rather poor to me as well. I asked him isn't there anything in this book's teaching methods you feel is worthwhile? So many people follow it. His answer was a very flat and absolute "No." I was shocked. He asked me a question that I felt is worthy of consideration for anyone considering undertaking this book. He said "Look at these pictures." Would you like to be drawing like this after a year, or as you are drawing now after only a few months. As I looked at the book and examined my illustrations and those of the other students in the room, the illustrations in Nicolades book looked like primitive scribbles. To be sure the gestures and longer drawings had weight form and action, but so did the students work we were doing to an even greater degree, plus our work was capturing the personality and likeness of the model. In my case I much prefered the look of the drawings I was able to do using classical techniques. I had moved much closer to my personal goals in a much shorter amount of time.
Now I don't tell this anecdote to disparage Nicolades, because many people have truly become the artist they always wanted to be through this book. Flip through the book and ask yourself, after all the work you will go through, do the examples in the book represent the way you would like to be able to draw. Know that you when you are through you will not be drawing like a Norman Rockwell or in a classical, comic or animation style if that is your desire. These methods will not translate as these styles require different disciplines. Do you want to be an artist where your work will be looked at as an internal expression? Do you put a priority on how your work expresses an esoteric truth over a literal one? If the answer is yes then by all means go for this book. If you desire to draw illustrations that capture accurate or sleek stylized likenesses and express yourself with subtle light and shadow or beautiful linework you may find yourself happier with a book or class that teaches with more classical methods. To put it more simply, when people think of you as an artist, do you want them to think of you wearing a french beret at an easel or a baseball cap at a drawing table? You can learn greatly from this book. This book offers you a long arduous trip. Do make sure it is taking you to the destination you desire. If you are not sure, or you aspire to be an animation clean-up or in-between artist then perhaps should look into the easier Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain series." She borrows exercises directly from this book and it might be a good guage to see if this method suits your personality.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


168 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very Best, June 28, 2000
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
I reviewed this book earlier, after only a month into working with it. Now I've been at it about 7 months, which, for me, means I'm a little over 1/2 way through. I'm so thankful to have found this book at the beginning of my learning to draw. I also take a drawing class where there are live models to work from. In truth, I only take to class for the opportunity to work from a living form, because this book is my true instructor. And it is the best instruction in the art of seeing and learning that can be imagined. I compare my work with others in my class who have been working far longer and I feel sorry for them. I feel like working this book has got me moving at warp speed. I showed it to another class member and he said, "you're serious about this, aren't you?" If you really want to learn how to see and how to draw, use this book and stick to it. It will pay off. I can see a face now and truly draw it. And I can draw it almost as well if I use what I've learned from the memory exercises and draw it tommorrow.
UPDATE: 12 years later: While I have not tried to make a living with artwork, my first oil painting was accepted in a gallery show and sold. I'm still enjoying my work and am now working on a watercolor portrait series as time permits. And while I don't have alot of time for my artwork, I actually have two apprentices I'm working with and they are both doing their initial study with this book. Can't recommend it enough. Through following the work in the book, you, like me, will find your "voice" in artwork, and each time create quality, if not brilliance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can only buy one art book, buy this!, August 15, 2001
By 
Cristina Acosta (Bend, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
The book was published posthumously in 1941 by Nicolaides' students. Their fervor for their late revered teacher is evident in the manner in which the book is written. They developed a rigorous lesson schedule which demands consistent attention of the artist.

I first read The Natural Way to Draw in 1983. In January of 1985 I began a self study course using this book as my guide. I followed every lesson plan and read and re-read until I could recite the book by heart. Too broke to afford a nude model for the lesson plans, I drew my neighbors chickens, cows, horses and sheep, supplementing those subjects with weekly attendance at a drawing group and borrowing the local science teachers human skeleton. Whatever the subject matter, Niccolaides taught me to understand the essence of gesture. A little over a year and a half later, I finished the book. I went on to earn a college degree (BFA)in Painting and to become a professional artist. When I look back at the past 18 years of my life as an artist,this book had the most influence of any that I have ever read or worked with. I highly recommend not just reading this book, but studying it. Devote a year of your life to studying this book and you will be a better artist.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Works !.., September 7, 2001
By 
Ganapathy Subramaniam (Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
Truely a work of Art(In teaching, that is!)
This book (or manual, or workbook, or textbook or Bible) really works. Its like taking a regular intensive training program in drawing.
First, let me tell about 'Other' books:
Lots (Tons & Tons) of books are there in this subject. Problem is, they all have lots of drawings made by the author. Sometimes it is intimidating to take the first(important) steps because these drawings are so carefully made you just want to do the same. At the best, you learn to *Copy* an artist's art! :(
Result ... you learn NOTHING.
In this book, you hardly see a 'perfect' drawing. All(almost) are scribblings..Natural scribblings. they are the work in progress of a learner. There are no drawings in this book to copy or reproduce !! Only methods and techniques & more importantly EXCERCISES !! This book does not give you Fish, instead it teaches you how to Fish! You will be able to draw anything & everything...Confidently !
If you are going to buy only one book in your life time, let this be the book. You probably don't need another!
For me, it has given a new lease of life to the artist in me. I can confidently say that I have begun learning art now!...
Note: I wrote the above review more than a year ago. Been practicing the lessons in the book on and off, as I find time. One thing that amazed me was when I look at the drawings that I drew before this book and my recent drawings. I cannot believe it. There was never in all my years did I have such a sharp improvement and *confidence* in drawing. Though there is still a long way to go, it is now very fulfilling to know I am on the right track .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Amazing, March 24, 2004
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
This book has taught me so much I wouldn't know where I'd be without. Others have already spoken to all it offers, so I'm gong to limit myself to the folks who've trashed it.
First, this is a book of exercises. You either do them or you don't. But anyone who "flips through the book at the library," then complains it has nothing to offer is like someone who goes to the gym, watches other people work out, then leaves feeling unimpressed with a gym's ability to help him get in shape. Making a judgement about this book without "working" it is exactly as foolish.
Second, there's nothing "modernist junk" at all about "The Natural Way to Draw." You'll be moving into anatomy studies and reproductions of the masters soon enough. Nicolaides is all about observing the details of life and recording them well. Again, such an ignorant comparison of the techniques Natural Way to Draw with a sloppy draughtsmanship and "modernist junk" only reveals the reviewer (who admitted he only "flipped" through the book) didn't flip very far and with little understanding of what he was holding in his hands.
Third, there's a story further down about an art school where the teacher mocks this book. Too bad. I studied at that school. And I'm glad I did: I learned a lot. But that school ultimately is not enough. Their students draw well rendered work, but it's also flat, uninspired, and repitative. "That Natural Way to Draw" gives you the tool YOU need to draw the way YOU want to draw.
Look: there's no easy path to drawing and painting really well. And this book guides you to drawing and painting really well. So, yes, it takes time; it takes effort. But at least all your effort is focused and fruitful. This book gives you the fundementals in a series of exercise. It's like doing exercises at the paino before you can play a concerto. And there's nothing wrong with that.
If you want to apply yourself and become great, check this book out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Useful, June 26, 1999
By 
krpc@home.com (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
- I just finished doing every exercise in this book. I began the book as a complete novice to art. It took me 15 months of hard work, and dedication to get through it. But it was worth it! In 15 months I have progressed from drawing stick men to producing very credible work.
Creatively, I feel like I've been shot out of a cannon. I found my way of looking at things has dramatically grown. I have become more disciplined and dedicated to learning art as I've progresssed through the book. I notice I have increased mental flexibility and concentration, and am able to memorize more quickly and thoroughly than before. Instead of believing that I could never produce a masterful piece of art, I now believe that I not only can, but will.
I am now busy learning to oil paint with a limited palette, and my work is progressing quickly and enjoyably.
For some reason, I suspect the hardest part of learning art is behind me now. I will continue to return to this book in the future, for inspiration, and to continue to sharpen my seeing and drawing skills.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thorough, inspiring book., March 31, 2000
By 
Mar Calpena (Barcelona, Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
Funnily enough, when I first received this book I was somewhat disappointed. I had learnt to draw with Betty Edward's "Drawing on the right side of the brain" and somehow mister Nicolaide's book seemed a little too academic to me. False. This is a wonderful book, with exercises that to last for a lifetime. The author states that you should use them in the prescribed order, but I think it will benefit those who have worked through the Edwards' book but still want more. Although the book is brilliantly inspirational and oozes with a kind sense of humour, it shouldn't be mistaken as new agey stuff. You do learn to draw if you put the hard work it requires. It is definitely worth every cent (or in my case, peseta)!.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Book for Serious Drawing, March 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
I bought this book in 1972 (hard cover). Glad to see it's still in print. If you have some talent, and are willing to put in the work to fulfill the lessons in this book, you can learn to draw as well as ANYONE, and drawing will never be a limiting factor in your creative process. Better stock up on cheap paper, because you will end up with a stack about 6' high. But you will never forget what you learn here. Thanks to Mr Nicolaides!! Note: I didn't have models available for all the exercises, so I just went out to a place where there were a lot of people and drew them. You can adapt the lessons to your circumstances. I completed the course, working 6 hours a day for 6 months. I still use the book when I want to sharpen up some of my skills.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A demanding and extremely instructional book on drawing., September 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study (Paperback)
I first came upon this book as a textbook in college. This is a book that should remain close at hand and used often. Whether you are a beginner or an accomplished artist, this book is full of exercises that can improve your work. From countour and gesture drawing, memory drawing and quick studies, the figure, fabric, composition, light and shade..whatever you need to work on it's in here! No matter which you are, someone looking to learn to draw or to improve your drawing skills, you will not be disappointed with your purchase of this item. It is money well spent!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study
The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study by Kimon Nicolaïdes (Paperback - February 1, 1990)
$16.95 $14.40
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.